The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it. - Franklin P. Jones
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 154, 13 August 1993







RUSSIA



PARLIAMENT INCREASES ITS POWERS OVER GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS.
The joint sitting of the chambers of parliament on 12 August,
attended by only some 150 of the total 250-deputies, voted to
introduce changes to the Law on the Council of Ministers. The
amendments, introduced by the leader of the opposition Russian
Unity bloc and chairman of the Constitutional Legislation Committee,
Vladimir Isakov, were passed by 153 votes to 4. They stipulate
that parliament must confirm the president's nominations to the
posts of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Defense, and
Security, if the current incumbent is dismissed. Until parliament
approves a candidate, ministerial duties are to be performed
by a deputy minister. The amendments follow the dismissal of
Security Minister Viktor Barannikov, which was opposed by the
parliament, but they have to be approved by President Boris Yeltsin
before they can become law. -Wendy Slater

YELTSIN PROPOSES CREATION OF FEDERATION COUNCIL. Opening a session
of the Council of the Heads of Republics in the Karelian capital,
Petrozavodsk, on 13 August, Yeltsin proposed the creation of
a Federation Council that would be made up of two representatives
of each of the 88 (sic) subjects of the federation, ITAR-TASS
reported. Yeltsin suggested that the Council of the Heads of
the Republics approve the creation of the new council by presidential
decree. He said that the council would be able legitimately to
solve many questions; no one would be able to dismiss it as "some
kind of assembly," since it would be an organ of power. A proposal
that a Federation Council be set up embracing all the subjects
of the federation (and not just the heads of the republics) had
been made earlier in the year and rejected by the Congress of
People's Deputies. In fact, a body with the same name was created
by the Russian parliament in 1990 to draw up the federal treaty
and, as far as is known, has never been abolished. -Ann Sheehy


KOSTIKOV CALLS SESSION A BREAKTHROUGH. At the session, which
was attended by the heads of all the republics except Chechnya
and by the leaders of eight regional and interregional associations,
Yeltsin also said that the constitutional assembly should reconvene
in September, and that the fate of the new constitution depended
in large part on the position adopted by the Council of the Heads
of the Republics. If difficulties arose over its adoption, Yeltsin
said he did not exclude the possibility of the adoption of a
"constitution of the transitional period" that would enable new
elections to be held. Speaking to journalists after the session
ended, Yeltsin's press secretary Vyacheslav Kostikov described
the session as "a breakthrough." Categorizing the overgenerous
interpretations of some nationalistically-minded leaders of the
republics as "geopolitical nonsense," he maintained that Yeltsin
had gently but firmly issued a warning to such leaders, and that
the Federation Council would act as a bridge between the republics
and the krais and oblasts. -Ann Sheehy

KHASBULATOV ADDRESSES RUSSIAN CITIZENS. Parliamentary chairman
Ruslan Khasbulatov made a 15minute speech on Moscow TV on 12
August in reply to President Yeltsin's speech earlier that day
to media representatives, in which he had called for autumn elections
and rejected the parliament's new budget. Khasbulatov warned
that "provocations are being prepared to start from 20 August
[the second anniversary of the coup]." He claimed that Yeltsin
and his entourage were making "threats . . . against the parliament
and against the peaceful and quiet life of the people." He defended
the work of the parliament as "peaceful and constructive," in
particular claiming that budget amendments had been necessary
because "we cannot leave millions of people and very important
branches of the economy without the means of existence simply
for the sake of artificially reducing the deficit." Lastly, Khasbulatov
called for watchfulness, because "adventurers cannot be allowed
to throw the country into chaos." Wendy Slater

YELTSIN ADDRESSES PROBLEMS OF THE MEDIA. On 12 August, Russian
television newscasts reported on the conference of leaders of
the Russian media that opened in Moscow earlier that day. According
to the reports, the participants, in particular the heads of
local television companies, criticized both the parliament and
the Russian Minister of the Media and Information Mikhail Fedotov,
who is known to be one of Yeltsin's most ardent supporters. The
speakers urged that Fedotov be replaced by Yeltsin's life-long
friend, Mikhail Poltoranin. Some of them were said to have gone
so far as to threaten Yeltsin that the media would support the
opposition during the forthcoming election campaign should the
government fail to meet their financial demands. In his address
to the gathering, Yeltsin said that he would veto the decision
of the parliament to set up an oversight commission to ensure
equal access to the country's radio and TV airwaves for all political
factions represented in the parliament or local legislatures.
Julia Wishnevsky

SECURITY COUNCIL TO HAVE BEEN STRENGTHENED? KOMMERSANT-DAILY
REPORTED ON 10-AUGUST THAT BORIS YELTSIN RECENTLY SIGNED A DECREE
AND A PACKET OF RELATED DIRECTIVES THAT WOULD WIDEN THE RESPONSIBILITIES
OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL AND GREATLY EXPAND THE SIZE OF THE APPARATUS
THAT SUPPORTS IT. The article, which was published on the day
that Evgenii Shaposhnikov announced his resignation as Secretary
of the Security Council, adds to the confusion surrounding Shaposhnikov's
decision. It reports that, in an exclusive interview, Shaposhnikov
outlined the Security Council's new tasks, and said that one
of its priorities would be to draft a concept on Russian national
security policy. He also reportedly expressed confidence that
the Security Council would receive sufficient budgeting and appeared
indifferent to the opposition that his original appointment had
aroused in parliament. These last remarks appear to contradict
sentiments attributed to Shaposhnikov by Izvestiya on 12-August.
Kommersant-Daily suggested, finally, that the restructuring and
strengthening of the Security Council might have been part of
a radical shake-up planned for the entire presidential apparatus.
-Stephen Foye

FARMERS HOLD PROTEST MEETINGS. At rallies organized by the Union
of Agro-Industrial Complex Workers, thousands of farmers demonstrated
on 12-August in cities throughout the federation to mark the
Day of the Protection of the Russian Farmer, an RFE/RL correspondent
and ITAR-TASS reported. Among the demands made by the demonstrators
were increased subsidies for the agricultural sector, higher
purchase prices for agricultural produce, restrictions on the
sale of land, and the possibility of purchasing shares in processing
factories. Farmers in Krasnoyarsk withheld milk deliveries to
dairies, and their colleagues in Kursk warned of future strike
action. -Keith Bush

KOZYREV VS. PARLIAMENT ON ROCKET SALE TO INDIA. On 12 August
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, rebutting criticism voiced in
parliament, defended the Foreign Ministry's role in scuttling
the sale of rocket technology to India, Russian television reported.
The deal had been opposed by the US. Kozyrev spoke strongly of
the need to limit proliferation of rocket technology and nuclear
weapons, particularly in or near zones of conflict. He suggested
that the transfer of rocket technology by Russia to India could
have led the US to sell similar technology to Pakistan, and said
that Russia's interests were best served by maintaining the status
quo in that region. In the wake of Moscow's actions, Indian authorities
have suggested that they will limit arms purchases from Russia.
Meanwhile, on 12 August Radio Rossii reported that parliament
intends to set up a commission to evaluate the work of the Foreign
Ministry. Deputies were reportedly especially dissatisfied with
the ministry's policies vis-a-vis India and Sevastopol. -Stephen
Foye

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



SHEVARDNADZE APPEALS FOR MORE UN OBSERVERS. Speaking by telephone
with UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali late on 11 August,
Georgian Parliamentary Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze appealed
for the dispatch of more UN observers to the conflict zone in
Abkhazia to monitor the 27 July ceasefire agreement, ITAR-TASS
reported. While he evaluated positively Russia's role in achieving
a ceasefire, Shevardnadze underlined the importance of international
participation to settle the conflict. Meeting in the Abkhaz capital
Sukhumi late on 11 August, the trilateral Working Group for Military
Issues and Security, part of the Joint Commission for the Settlement
of the Abkhaz Conflict, approved a plan for troop disengagement
formulated by the Commission leadership on 10 August, ITAR-TASS
reported. In addition, the Working Group agreed to create reinforced
temporary control groups, each of which would include one representative
of each side, two signallers, and up to ten guards, and which
would be stationed throughout the conflict zone. -Catherine Dale


GEORGIAN OFFICIAL DENIES GOGOLADZE'S SUSPENSION. In a telephone
interview with an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow on 12 August,
Georgian Deputy General Prosecutor Vakhtang Gvaramia denied reports
that Eldar Gogoladze had been suspended from his position as
head of security for Shevardnadze. Western agencies reported
on 11 August that Gogoladze had been suspended pending the outcome
of the investigation of the murder of US official Fred Woodruff
on 8 August near Tbilisi. Gogoladze had been driving the car
in which Woodruff was killed. In addition, Gvaramia labeled as
"misinformation" unverified reports that the bullet that killed
Woodruff was fired from inside the car. -Catherine Dale

"DEMOCRATIC GEORGIA" MOVEMENT FORMING. On the initiative of journalists
and of member of parliament Valeria Kvaratskhelia, the Democratic
Georgia movement has begun to take shape in Tbilisi, ITAR-TASS
reported 11 August. Observers said that the movement, which backs
Georgian Parliamentary Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze but emphasizes
particularly the need for law and order, has the potential to
become the largest public organization in the country since a
number of regional organizations have already pledged their loyalty.
Kvaratskhelia earlier headed the Democratic Reforms Movement,
which stood in opposition to ex-President Zviad Gamsakhurdia.
In a recent statement, Democratic Georgia spoke out against the
uncontrolled increase of criminal elements and called on Shevardnadze
to declare a state of emergency throughout Georgia. -Catherine
Dale

CIS

UKRAINIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS UPDATE. UNIAN reported on 12 August
that Boris Yeltsin promised Leonid Kuchma during their 11 August
meeting that Russia would pay Ukraine for nuclear weapons transferred
to Russia. Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin reportedly
instructed the cabinet to prepare a decision on this issue. Ukrainian
television on 11-August quoted Kuchma as denying that Ukraine
had asserted operational control over the weapons, and stating
that the government had no plans to do so, although the defense
ministry might. On 12 August Izvestiya reported that a spokesman
for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry had reasserted its view that
SS-24 ICBMS are not covered under START-1. However, in its 2
August issue, Aviation Week and Space Technology claimed Ukrainian
Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov told US officials during
his visit to Washington in July that while up to 20 SS-19s would
be dismantled this fall, SS-24 dismantling would not begin until
after START-1 ratification, suggesting that he considered the
SS-24s to be covered by the treaty. The magazine also reported
that US funds for Ukrainian nuclear weapons dismantling have
been released even though START-1 has not yet been ratified.
-John Lepingwell

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



CONFUSION ABOUT SERBIAN WITHDRAWAL NEAR SARAJEVO. Serbian forces
besieging Sarajevo allowed a deadline set by UN peace negotiators
Thorvald Stoltenberg and Lord Owen to pass on 12 August without
complying with demands that Serbian troops be withdrawn from
Mts. Bjelasnica and Igman. A UN spokesman reported that a "sizeable"
force "in the thousands" remained on the mountains, international
media report. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said several
times on 12 August that his forces had in fact left the positions.
UN commander Vere Hayes will climb the two mountains on 13 August
to determine wether the Serbs have indeed withdrawn. Bosnian
President Alija Izetbegovic otherwise threatened to quit the
Geneva peace talks which are to resume on 13 August. Hayes will
decide wether the Serbs have to withdraw further, while Karadzic
said his forces will abide by Hayes' decision. Tanjug on 12 August
quoted Bosnian Serb chief of staff General Manojlo Milovanovic
as saying his forces would be withdrawn if UNPROFOR declares
a neutral zone and stops Muslim forces from retaking the territory.
Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic charged the Serbs with using
the UN peacekeepers as a shield against possible NATO airstrikes.
He added that the UN forces know about alleged Serb rockets on
one of the mountains but are keeping them a secret. Finally,
the Islamic Conference called for immediate airstrikes against
the Serbs, while UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali said
that preparations for airstrikes are continuing on the ground.
-Fabian Schmidt

CROATIAN FOREIGN MINISTER TALKS ABOUT IMAGE PROBLEMS. The 13
August issue of the independent weekly Globus runs an interview
with Foreign Minister Mate Granic. The chief diplomat recognizes
that Croatia often has a bad image abroad, particularly in America,
but feels that the worst of that is over now that the Muslims
have gone on the offensive in central Bosnia and are no longer
perceived around the world as innocent sufferers. Granic also
denied some views held in his own party and in the media it controls
that Croatia is somehow the victim of an international conspiracy.
He said that he wants to live in a Croatia that is a pleasant
place, not one that sees itself as an object of international
hostility much as the Serbs regard Serbia. Turning to Bosnia,
Granic said that Croatia will go along with whatever the Bosnians
want for their own future, but added that there has been so much
bad blood between Croats and Muslims this year that he cannot
see the Croats as accepting the Muslim proposal for a joint state.
As to the future of the mandate of UNPROFOR, Granic warned that
the UN must restore free communications by the end of September
for the mandate to be renewed. Such communications would include
the Maslenica bridge, the Zemunik airport serving Zadar, the
highway to Slavonski Brod, and water and oil pipelines. Meanwhile,
Vjesnik on 12 August and Vecernji list on the 13th report continued
Serb shelling of the Maslenica pontoon bridge. -Patrick Moore


DEVELOPMENTS IN MACEDONIA. MILS reports on 12 August that the
Macedonian Ambassador to Turkey, Trajan Petrovski, met with the
President of Turkey's National Assembly. The visit was designed
to improve links between the two countries' parliaments. In local
developments, MILS reports on 12 August that Albanians continue
to enter Macedonian territory illegally. The report alleged that
some of the would-be migrants have engaged in theft and smuggling,
while others are simply looking for better economic opportunities.
The majority are from Albania, but smaller numbers came from
Kosovo. Macedonia has an Albanian minority which Macedonia estimates
at 20%, while Albanian minority leaders suggest a figure of 40-50%.
Macedonia has passed a restrictive citizenship law to prevent
the watering down of its population by a possible flood of Albanian
refugees. -Robert Austin

REACTIONS TO MECIAR'S STATEMENTS ON SLOVAK-RUSSIAN TREATY. Several
newspapers and political parties responded to Premier Vladimir
Meciar's 11 August announcement that Russia need not apologize
for the 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia in the new Slovak-Russian
friendship agreement. In a 12 August press conference of the
Christian Democratic Party, Deputy Chairman Emil Konarik said
"if Slovakia leaves this question unsettled, this would mean
a quiet agreement with the occupation." Slovak daily Sme wrote
on 12 August that Meciar's reasoning for not requiring an apology
is faulty. Meciar said that if an apology is required from Russia,
it must also be required from other Warsaw Pact nations; however,
according to Sme, the other countries have already apologized
to former Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, Slovak daily Praca wrote
on 12 August that Slovakia should sign an agreement "even if
it does not include an apology," since it would mean the "development
of mutually advantageous economic projects" and would "guarantee
the stability of borders in Central Europe." -Sharon Fisher

SLOVAKIA, UKRAINE SIGN REPATRIATION AGREEMENT. On 12 August Slovak
Interior Minister Jozef Tuchyna and Ukrainian Deputy Chairman
of Border Protection ratified an agreement to cooperate on border
issues, including the repatriation of illegal immigrants, TASR
reports. The agreement follows Germany's asylum law which went
into effect on 1 July, causing fears in East Central Europe of
an inflow of refugees. According to Tuchyna, Slovakia has already
signed similar agreements with the Czech Republic, Austria and
Poland and is preparing one with Hungary. -Sharon Fisher

SIGN DISPUTE LEADS TO BLOCKADE OF SLOVAK VILLAGE. In the village
of Marcelova in western Slovakia, a road blockade began on 11
August following instructions from village mayor Laszlo Sooky.
The reason for the blockade is the removal of road signs in Hungarian
language, despite the fact that 90% of the village's inhabitants
are ethnic Hungarians, TASR reports. The roads are now being
controlled by city police, and Sooky said "only those willing
to sign a petition in favor of the actions are permitted into
the village." -Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY'S TRADE WITH FORMER SOVIET BLOC COUNTRIES. Lajos Berenyi,
deputy state secretary in the Ministry for International Economic
Relations, told MTI on 12 August that Hungary's trade with former
Soviet bloc countries has been developing favorably despite the
region's deep economic recession. He reported that in the first
half of the year Hungary's trade turnover with former Soviet
bloc countries amounted to $2.5 billion or 25% of the country's
total foreign trade turnover. During this period, imports grew
by 5% while exports fell by 18%. Trade turnover with CIS states
amounted to $1.5 billion, in which Russia's share was 80% to
85%. Trade turnover with the Czech Republic and Slovakia amounted
to $180-million and $160-million respectively, with Poland to
$150 million, which is a 10% drop compared to the same period
last year. Trade with Romania totaled $100 million, with Slovenia
and Croatia it was $100 million each. Trade with rump Yugoslavia
has practically ceased, and trade with Bulgaria and Albania fell
significantly. -Edith Oltay

NARVA, SILLAMAE ACCEPT COURT RULING OVER REFERENDUM. Baltic media
reported on 12 August that both Narva and SIllamae city councils
have announced that they would obey the Estonian court ruling
which declared invalid the referenda over territorial autonomy
that were held in the two towns in July. The majority of inhabitants
of both towns is Russian and they endorsed the cities autonomy
within Estonia. -Dzintra Bungs

RUSSIAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM LITHUANIA. On 12 August Lithuanian
National Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius and Col. Stasys
Knezys, chief of staff of Lithuania's armed forces, told a press
conference that the Russian troops in Lithuania are scheduled
to complete their departure 3 days ahead of schedule, on 28 August,
Radio Lithuania reports. When asked about the comments of Viktor
Isakov, the head of Russia's troop withdrawal delegation, that
the withdrawal might be suspended if no agreement is signed,
Butkevicius noted that Isakov is not in command of the Russian
army and has no authority to suspend the departure. -Saulius
Girnius

LITHUANIAN PREMIER ON AGRICULTURE. On 12-August Adolfas Slezevicius
said that due to the government's having funds to purchase only
between 150,000 and 200,000 tons of grain Lithuanian farms will
have to find purchasers for their produce independently, Radio
Lithuania reports. He announced the abolishment of the 10% export
duty on grain and raised the import duties on meat to 30% to
prevent an influx of cheaper foreign meat. Agriculture Minister
Rimantas Karazija said that this year's grain harvest should
be about 2 million tons although excessive rain is hindering
harvesting and some potatoes are already rotting in the fields.
-Saulius Girnius

YELTSIN TO VISIT POLAND IN AUGUST. A spokesman for the Russian
president confirmed on 11 August that Boris Yeltsin will make
a state visit to Poland at the end of August. Gazeta Wyborcza
quoted unofficial sources as saying the visit will take place
on 24-26-August. Yeltsin and Polish President Lech Walesa are
expected to sign several bilateral trade agreements, including
one on the construction of a pipeline to convey Russian natural
gas to Western Europe. An agreement on the construction of cemeteries
for the victims of the Katyn massacre may also be reached. There
was much press speculation in Warsaw that Yeltsin, not wishing
to postpone the Poland trip indefinitely, pushed it forward in
order to get foreign travel out of the way before the political
battles expected in September. -Louisa Vinton

POLISH UNEMPLOYMENT UP, FIRMS HEALTHIER. The Polish jobless rate
rose to 15.2% (2,811,831 people) in July, Deputy Minister Michal
Boni announced on 12-August. Boni attributed the steep monthly
rise in July (4.1%) to the registration of new school graduates.
Asked about the town of Praszka, the site of recent protests
by the Self Defense union, Boni said that the jobless rate there
is no worse than the national average and thus Praszka does not
qualify for special benefits. Finance ministry officials announced
that the introduction of the VAT had caused only a 1.7% increase
in prices in July. Prices rose a total of 1.8% in the month.
A delayed VAT-related increase of 1% is predicted for August.
The Main Statistical Office reported on 12 August that the financial
situation of industrial firms continues to improve. Industry
Minister Waclaw Niewiarowski told a press conference, however,
that the industrial growth rate of 4.2% in 1992 does not constitute
an economic recovery, as production still remains 30% below 1989
levels. Niewiarowski has recently been flogging his ministry's
plans for a more interventionist "industrial policy." These were
drawn up a year ago but have yet to win approval from the cabinet,
PAP reports. Meanwhile, a tug-of-war within the cabinet and between
the government and the coal industry over coal price hikes continues.
A moratorium on price increases is in force until the end of
August, but coal firms announced on 12 August that they plan
to raise prices for industrial customers by 30% to "rescue mining."
-Louisa Vinton

STRIKE PARALYSES ROMANIAN RAILWAYS. Radio Bucharest reported
on 12 August that the strike started by train drivers on the
previous day brought rail traffic to a virtual still stand across
the country. Most of the domestic traffic was canceled, while
international passenger and freight trains were left stranded
at the border. Romania's most circulated daily Evenimentul zilei
spoke of a state of "national chaos." The strike, which was branded
illegal by senior Romanian officials, appears to inflict serious
damage on an already fragile economy. Romania's Transport Minister
Paul Teodoru put the daily losses from the strike at eight to
ten billion lei ($9.9 to 12.5 million). He also said that the
strikers broke a rule under which one-third of the traffic should
be maintained during a stoppage in order to ensure essential
transport. On 12 August Romania's Supreme Court is scheduled
to hold an emergency hearing on a government request to order
the rail drivers back to work. -Dan Ionescu

PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE VISITS ROMANIA. The main spiritual
leader of the Orthodox church, Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople,
arrived on 12 August in Bucharest for a week-long visit to Romania.
Bartholomew's tour is expected to help the Romanian Orthodox
Church improve its image, which still suffers from perceptions
that it collaborated with the former communist regime and was
heavily infiltrated by secret police. Bartholomew, who was elected
patriarch in 1991, is scheduled to meet Romanian state officials,
including President Ion Iliescu, as well as church and political
leaders. Bartholomew is based in Istanbul, a city with few Christian
residents today. He is currently touring the Orthodox-dominated
South-Eastern Europe, including Serbia and Bulgaria. -Dan Ionescu


ROMANIA MOVES ON MOLDOVA. In a statement broadcast on 12 August,
Romanian President Ion Iliescu urged the government to send fuel
and vehicles to the Republic of Moldova to complete crop harvesting
and transport; and to process a part of Moldova's "abundant crops"
in Romanian plants. The fuel and transport would be financed
from "parts" of the Romanian government's "substantial" Fund
for Integration with Moldova, he said, without mentioning that
it totals only $ 7 million. Iliescu pegged his plan to the Moldovan
parliament's failure to ratify participation in the CIS. His
gesture is designed to be seen as offering Moldova an alternative
to the CIS; and (inconsistently) to address Romania's food deficit
and exorbitant food prices by means of Moldovan produce. Iliescu
stressed that Romania respects Moldova's independence. But on
11-August, a Romanian Foreign Ministry statement read on radio
and TV (for maximum impact in Moldova where both are easily received)
endorsed the efforts of the pro-Romanian opposition in Moldova's
parliament to block the majority's plan to legally dissolve parliament
and hold Moldova's first multi-party elections, which the pro-Romanian
groups are expected to heavily lose. -Vladimir Socor

MOLDOVA'S NATIONALITY POLICY: A UKRAINIAN VIEW. Ukraine's Ambassador
to Moldova, Vitalii Boiko, told Basapress on 12 August that "Moldova
has created the prerequisites for the observance and fulfillment
of the rights of national minorities. The existing legislation
enables them to develop their culture and traditions. Moldovan-Ukrainian
agreements on cultural, scientific, and economic cooperation
strengthen the foundations of the relations between our countries.
Moldova has opened schools and gymnasiums with instruction in
Ukrainian, and organizes days of Ukrainian culture. Understandably,
however, after only two years [of independence] Moldova does
not yet have the means to fully provide all the national minorities
with schools in their respective languages." [Most of Moldova's
Ukrainians and other ethnic communities still receive their education
in Russian-language schools]. -Vladimir Socor

CALLS FOR AN EMERGENCY SUPREME SOVIET SESSION IN BELARUS. A number
of political parties, unions and social organizations have been
calling for the convening of a special session of the Supreme
Soviet due to the worsening economic situation in Belarus, Belarusian
radio reported on 11 August. The next session is due to meet
only at the end of the year. Parliamentary deputy Henadz Kazlau
has been collecting signatures for the emergency session. Amongst
the major issues the session is meant to address is the country's
monetary system. Reuters reported on 12-August that the Belarusian
ruble fell by 18% against the dollar on the Minsk currency exchange.
The country is to go over to its own currency before the end
of the month. -Ustina Markus

CRIME RATE RISES IN UKRAINIAN MILITARY. A report in the Ukrainian
newspaper Nezavisimost of 11-August reports statistics presented
by the Deputy General Procurator of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,
Vasily Kravchenko, showing significant growth in crime rates.
According to Kravchenko, the military crime rate and the incidence
of dedovshchina (hazing and harassment) both increased by 40%
over the first half of last year. Three deaths due to dedovschina
and forty suicides were also reported. Theft was up 71% and there
were 7000 cases of desertion. These statistics suggest that morale
in the Ukrainian military continues to decline rapidly, and that
corruption is consequently becoming increasingly widespread.
-John Lepingwell

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Ann Sheehy and Jan B. deWeydenthal







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